Growth in pork consumption expected

Although the future for pork producers will be fraught with financial danger, there will be opportunities for entrepreneurs to make money.

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This was according to Dr Pieter Grimbeek, pig farmer and private veterinarian, at the recent Premier Pork Producer’s Annual Symposium in Pretoria. Grimbeek said that total world meat production was expected to grow modestly at around 1,4% in 2013. This was slower than in recent years, he said.

According to the latest Food Outlook report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, it was estimated that world pork production would grow by about 2% in 2013. “This is after elevated feed prices began to fall during the second half of 2012 and continued to diminish during 2013,” said Grimbeek. “The forecast for world meat production shows that it will reach 308,2 million tons, an increase of 4,3 million tons or 1,4%, compared to last year,” he said.

According to WattAgNet, global meat exports were anticipated to reach 30,2 million tons in 2013, an increase of 1,1% over 2012. But Grimbeek warned that production costs would continue to surge while the demand also grew. “The energy crisis is headed your way, like an Italian train under Mussolini – not on time and not with precision.” Grimbeek said in order to increase pork consumption, the industry needed to market it as a necessity, not a luxury, with special attention to branding.

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According to Grimbeek, local and international data showed a consistent low consumption of pork, around and below 4kg per capita annually. “This will not change, unless our thinking and approach changes.” He added that the perception that SA’s public was not sympathetic to pork consumption was changing.“If you are not going to supply it, somebody else will,” Grimbeek said.

Jan van Zyl, FNB head of agriculture information, said the future for pork and agriculture in general was looking fantastic.
Van Zyl said this was due to growing populations, economies and the middle class as well as adoption of Western diets. “However, recently sheep prices at auctions have contributed to the pork woes,” Van Zyl said. Due to the recent drought, farmers were forced to sell sheep at lower prices. “It would be a matter of choice. Many (consumers) would go for mutton as it has never been cheaper,” said Van Zyl.